How does the cover / main photo selection works?

The cover photo selection mechanism in WikiWand is 100% automated,  we do not select the photos ourselves.

It selects a "main" photo for the article, which may either be a horizontal cover photo, or a big portrait photo on the right side of the article, or no photo at all.


It first collects all possible photos: it looks for images inside the article, recommended images image from Wikipedia's PageImages Extension, and if available - a cover photo in the English version of the article.


It then assigns a rank or disqualifies each image based on several factors:

  • License - only images which are public domain or CC that is allowed for commercial use are allowed, others image (for example fair-use images) are disqualified
  • Resolution - needs to be high enough to qualify for a cover image
  • Aspect ratio - this helps us determine if the image is suitable to be a landscape cover image (usually around 3:2 aspect ratio), a portrait main image on the right side (portrait aspect ratio), or none (image is disqualified).
  • Texts - we compare the image filename, caption and meta description to the title of the article and rank accordingly. We also disqualify images which are possibly offensive based on text (e.g. sexual content)
  • Image type - we currently show only JPG or PNG images, SVG images have a different selection criteria.
  • Source - Images from Wikipedia's PageImages API are given higher rank
  • Position inside the article.
  • More filters - we have more filters that disqualify image which we believe are "meta" images, for example SVG icons ("disambiguation", etc.)
  • User reports and suggestions - as explained below.

Unfortunately, sometimes the algorithm chooses an irrelevant or inappropriate cover photo - we're are constantly working to improve it. You can actually help us select better cover photos: 1. If you see an irrelevant or disturbing cover photo, please click the Flag icon in the bottom-right corner of the photo. 2. To suggest a different photo as cover, click it, then in the gallery dialog click the Pin icon in the top-left corner. Those changes won't take effect immediately as we rely on reports from multiple users. Thank you.

___ Keywords: cover main image photo picture selection

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